From the 20th to the 23rd of October 2011 the Kiev International Tango Festival will take place in the beautiful Ukrainian capital. The festival aims to be an annual event but this year’s will be the second so it still has a small and intimate character. Although it is in its infancy, the incongruous combination of ancient Slavic architecture and modern Latin music works very well and seems set to continue its growth. Of course, Kiev is worth a trip anyway but anyone with a passion for the tango will find even more to delight them.
Photo by J Pacheco
The schedule of the festival has a strong focus on lessons to ensure improvements in all attendees, from the base novice to near maestros, and each day finishes with a milonga that will go on into the early morning. For this reason each days schedule does not begin until lunch time, giving attendees plenty of time to lie in after the night before or else head out and explore the city. Two professional sets of maestros will be leading lessons so that visitors always have a choice within each time slot as well as within each day.
The two couples giving the lessons this year will be Pablo Inza with Soledad Larretapia and Alberto Colombo with Mariela Sametband. In addition to their undoubted talents as both teachers and performers, perhaps the most important assets that the four bring to Kiev is that they have all spent time in Argentina and so are familiar with the original and best of the tango. The many decades of experience that they have between them will be a huge asset to aspiring dancers and inspiring for casual visitors who will hopefully get caught up in the atmosphere of the nightly milonga.
The festival is clearly mindful that some visitors may come alone and be in need of a partner and they therefore run a partner finding service. However, I have been unable to track down and locate anyone who used it last year. The general advice is that, if you are in any way shy or retiring then it would be better to come to Kiev already with a partner or in a group. Extroverts who suffer little from embarrassment can take advantage of the partner finding service, although you will probably have made heaps of friends on the plane, at the airport and on your way to the tango festival location.
For such a young event, Kiev’s tango festival is certainly ambitious in terms of tickets prices. If you are an ardent tango fan travelling to Ukraine especially then the block bookings discounts mean that it will work out cheaper to buy the tickets in advance. However, casual visitors will probably be better off buying tickets on an ad hoc basis for the events you actually want to attend. All ticket information, instructions on how to register and further details are available on the Kiev International Tango Festival website.
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